In December of 1962, Vail opened as a ski area. The lodges, houses, condominiums, shops, and restaurants at its base became the nucleus of the emergent town of Vail and the prototype of the modern recreational gateway community. The term "gateway community" did not originate in Vail. It had, in fact, been employed throughout much of the twentieth century to describe a far more modest species of back country development. The small outposts on the periphery of the great national parks had for decades provided services and supplies to the seasonal tourists streaming into the parks. These were places passed through, as a peripheral means to the central objective of a national park experience. Few people actually lived there and, in the off season, they were largely dormant. These gateways are undergoing a dramatic transformation that parallels the emergence of new residential phenomena like Vail. The development of the gateways, the urbanization of the outback, and the rapid rise in high country land values, in Rocky Mountain states, have spawned multifaceted responses by the National Forest Service, state and local governments, environmental associations, and private interests. These reactions are sometimes parochial and often in conflict, but they are not incapable of coordination. The active federal agency participation and the enlightened, creative use of the discretionary exchange power can promote better planning, better protection of sensitive interests, and better adjustments of the benefits and burdens of growth and rising land values.
John W. Ragsdale Jr,
National Forest Land Exchanges and The Growth of Vail and Other Gateway Communities,
Available at: https://irlaw.umkc.edu/faculty_works/628